This month, Stacked is featuring guest posts by some of our favorite local bloggers. The third installment comes from Julie Niesen, whose wine me, dine me (in cincinnati) and booze me, schmooze me are THE go-to blogs for Cincinnati foodies and, er, drinkies. Check them daily for restaurant reviews, recipes, and insider scoop on the local food and drink scene.
When the lovely gentlemen at The Mercantile Library asked me to guest post, I was flattered. You see, though I suppose I’m known throughout town as a foodie, my first love is actually books. I was the kid at the library who took out stacks and stacks of books and voraciously read them all, much to the chagrin of my mother, who though happy that her daughter was reading, disliked the fact that she liked to read at the dinner table (sorry Mom, but I still read at the dinner table). I’m still a voracious reader (though I’ve switched, mostly, from stacks of physical books to a very full Kindle and iPad), often going through a book or two a week, particularly when I’m traveling. I admit that I do read a lot of books about food– whether it’s cookbooks or books about food and culture– and here are a few of my recent favorites.
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer: The chances of my becoming a vegan are similar to my chances of becoming an astrophysicist or climbing Mt. Everest– slim to none. However, most people have no idea how their food gets from a farm to their table, much less how factory farm animals have been treated. Though Foer makes the argument for veganism, he does so with both a sense of humor and a real sensitivity to the fact that so many people don’t like to think of their food as having once lived. Eating Animals might not make you rethink eating animals period, but at the very least it will make you reconsider the sources of your meat, eggs and dairy.
Imbibe!, by David Wondrich: I’m obsessed with the classic cocktail, and if you’d see my bar at home, you’d possibly argue that “obsession” could translate as “in need of a twelve-step program”. There’s nothing more relaxing, to me, than to shake up a cocktail for friends (and they all willingly partake of my concoctions). Drinks, both pre- and post- prohibition were a lot different than the syrupy-sweet “-tinis” and have fascinating stories behind them. Wondrich, the cocktail writer for the Esquire and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, writes an exhaustive and engrossing history about a classic cocktail book (Jerry Thomas’ 1887 Bartender’s Guide) and also calls on some famous mixologists to create some Thomas-inspired creations. It’s the kind of book that improves your cocktail party repartee tenfold, and when friends ask why you have so much knowledge about cocktails and spirits, you can simply state that you’re an “enthusiast” or, as I call it, “studying applied alcoholism”.
Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, by Nigella Lawson: Nigella Lawson is the pin-up of the culinary world. She’s not a trained chef, but she has a good sense of what can be easy and delicious, without dumbing down cuisine. Feast tackles meals ranging from Christmas to Rosh Hashanah to a meal appropriate for one’s first, uh, sleepover (if you catch my drift). She’s playful, funny, and practical: nothing is too complicated or fussy, but it’s all delicious. If you’re not familiar with Nigella, you’re in for a treat. She’s probably most famous for her chocopots, which could get just about anyone to do anything (as long as they like chocolate).
See what I mean?
Thanks for the opportunity to guest post– and I’m looking forward to checking out more of the cookbook and food writing selections at the Mercantile Library.